I know you want to coach and mentor your people and for their sales and income to increase. I also know you want them to develop new habits that will bring a positive effect on sales, incomes, and customer satisfaction/loyalty. I even believe you want to be successful as a positive agent of change in many parts of a person’s life.

But changes in education, governance views, and the family structure have affected the growth and development of people from early childhood on. These include society’s release of previous standards and traditional moral norms (for example: families that stay together with fathers remaining in a parental role) and the decisions and communication of parents regarding all kinds of values and beliefs including divorce and marital faithfulness. These, among other effects, have resulted in delayed maturation, broken homes, and children experiencing life without their biological fathers.

Research associated with the absence of a father shows several negative outcomes. Drs. McLanahan, Teach and Schneider (of Princeton, Cornell and University of California Berkeley) reviewed 47 peer-reviewed studies in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Indonesia and Norway for causal effects of a father’s absence. In 2013, they published their findings that males and females experienced the following consequences when dads go missing during their development into adults. 

  • Increases in risky behavior such as smoking or early childbearing 
  • Negative effects on high school graduation 
  • Higher levels of labor force inactivity 
  • Greater drug and alcohol use 
  • More problem behaviors which affect educational attainment 
  • Affected social-emotional outcomes (aggression, anxiety and depression)

As a result, people accept sales positions with lost potential. They are passive toward the future or addicted to what feels good in the present as they live without plans for a better future. However, stored up potential exists within every sales rep. They are wound up like rubber band airplanes not yet released or batteries with unconnected terminals, and they have the need to connect themselves to a stimulating change.

In this situation, many experience anxiety and fear of commitment. Exceptional sales leaders find and help these salespeople release their unrealized potential. They coach and mentor them. So, today, at the root of it all, what keeps reps bound up in their potential? What causes a new rep to do well and then drop back to low levels of production?

Here are six reasons: 

  • Poor self-image (self-worth) 
  • No goals (ambition for the future) 
  • Product dissatisfaction (low belief in product or service) 
  • Job dissatisfaction (bad effects of leadership or the culture) 
  • Low skills (do not know how) 
  • Fixed mindset (quitting: the need to be perfect or safe)

Let’s say you’re ready to talk with your people and make it a special and transformative moment – even a life-changing experience and certainly one that increases sales. Here are the usual 5 and most frequent motives you will have for a one-on-one discussion with a salesperson. For each, I have written the skill and behaviors for you to use to make your conversation powerful and productive for you and the sales rep. 

MOTIVE: Confidence – “You have what it takes.” 

SKILL/Behavior: Tell them what you see in them with a word picture and facts from their past performance (in their history or on the job), their attributes, their progress, what you saw in them when you hired them, etc. In others words, build a word picture that you believe holds the truth of their stored up potential. 

MOTIVE: Recognition – “I appreciate YOU.”

SKILL/Behavior: Applaud progress. Make the recognition specific to behaviors or attitudes important for sales performance or the culture’s values (example: customer service, building a book of business, etc.) 

MOTIVE: Instruction – “There’s one thing I want you to learn.” 

SKILL/Behavior: Example: Goals and sales planning – use survival/ lifestyle sheet. Or, teach one to two sales skills leading to a result until they are habits. Or, teach or model a new attitude and its impact.

MOTIVE: Attitude Correction – “I’m concerned.” 

SKILL: Please see the coaching approaches section concerning “Clear Talk.”  I developed this tool for the leaders of a multi-million dollar company years ago. Please listen to the special podcast on the use of this communication tool to help you confront someone over a bad attitude/behavior by  being kind and direct with them. Also, toward the end of this podcast, I’ll give you some additional strategies as well.

MOTIVE: Evaluation – “Let’s check your goal achievement progress.”

SKILL/Behavior: Research. Know their numbers. Ask questions about what they see and the impact. Ask them what actions they can do to turn them around. In the best case, have them bring their own numbers to the meeting. 

Next week, we will discuss the 3 Ways to Make the Coaching Conversation Powerful and a Life-Changing Experience. Now, go and make today great!

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